Back in Dec. 1984 here in Ohio, a then 14-year-old girl was on her way to school when she went missing. Sometime later, it was discovered that she was raped and murdered. The man accused of her death recently pleaded guilty to felony charges.
The man originally pleaded not guilty, but DNA evidence gathered at the time of the crime was looked at again last year with today’s technology. The results of those tests linked the accused man to the crimes. Prosecutors also obtained recordings of the Ohio man admitting that he killed the little girl. In early May of this year, the judge presiding over the case ruled to allow the prosecution to use those recordings as evidence at trail.
Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty. In exchange for a prison sentence ranging from a term of 30 years to a term of life for aggravated murder and a prison term between 10 and 25 years on the rape charge, the accused man pleaded guilty. The family of the victim had mixed feelings about the statement he made in court, but it is clear nothing the man said would change what happened to the daughter and sister that died in 1984.
In this case, a plea agreement removed the death penalty from the possible list of penalties he faces. The man now knows what his maximum penalties will be by pleading guilty. Sometimes, a person facing felony charges is presented with an overwhelming amount of evidence. There may well be potential challenges to the validity and/or relevance of certain evidence, and the likelihood of success regarding those applications must necessarily be weighed against the weight of the evidence and the potential sentence, should a guilty verdict be returned at trial. Sometimes, it makes sense to consider a plea agreement in exchange for government concessions regarding the charges and/or the potential consequences of a guilty plea.
Source: fox8.com, “Hernandez Warren Pleads Guilty to Rape, Murder of Gloria Pointer“, Darcie Loreno, Jennifer Jordan and Suzanne Stratford, May 21, 2014